June and July are great months for top water action. However it’s also the months that produce the most grass on the surface making fishing those top waters next to impossible. What’s a die-hard top water guy supposed to do?
The Spartina grass as well as the Turtle grass comes up from the bottom where it has died and the heat from the sun makes it float to the surface, as well as increased boat traffic cutting it lose from the bottom. There are ways to get around it.
The first thing to do is get rid of the treble hooks and replace them with a single wide gap hook, 3/0 will do. I have found that this set up will catch just as many fish as the trebles will or very close to it. Trick is when you put the hook on the split ring making sure they are going to ride point up. You might even have to twist the wire hook holder a little to accomplish this.
Then when you fish your top water make your cast to the side as opposed to down wind. The lure coming across the wind lines of grass as opposed to right back up the whole line of grass will help keep the hooks from fowling. Work the bait with a walk the dog action but keep the rod tip down close to the water so the line is in the water and not up in the wind and use a side ways twitch.
Of course the old gold spoon is always a great choice too. One thing that will help with this bait is to add a sharp short jerk to your retrieve about every ten turns of the reel handle. I use a Johnson’s weed less spoon with a slit ring and a swivel attached to the front end of the spoon. I tie the swivel on the leader and use a triple surgeons knot for the leader to main line.
This allows for fewer knots to gather grass on the line. The sharp short jerk will free the grass so you don’t crank in a wasted cast every time with grass all over your line and lure.
Another trick that we’ve developed over time is using fresh dead mullet. Tie on a 5/0 wide gape hook, and hook the mullet starting under the chin and come out through the skull between the eyes. A mullet actually has a hole in his head there where the hook point should ease right through.
Lob this bait out and work it back on the surface with a walk the dog motion and a little faster to keep the mullet on top. When the strike occurs, stop, feed him the offering for a couple of seconds and tighten up the slack. If he’s there, set the hook hard and hold on. The neat thing about this set up is that your hook up ratio increases but you still get the excitement of top water action.
One of my customers defined it as watching Orca come up behind your bait. It gets exciting watching fish follow before they hit.
You can also go to a bass type weed less hook, the one with the wire weed guard and hook on your favorite worm. Mine is the Norton Sand eel. With no weight you can’t cast it as far, but the more weight you use the faster the retrieve has to be. So you’ll have to make your choice there.
I like no weight or 1/8 ounce bullet weight installed on the front of the eel on the leader. This allows me to work the soft plastic on the surface. When the strike comes you can set the hook then if he’s got it, or stop the bait momentarily and let it sink. Then start a subsurface twitch and he will usually come back and pick it up.
Another trick that works well is to use small rubber bands. Loop the band on the jig eye and stretch it back to the barb of the hook. This will keep off most of the grass that could foul your lure, but won’t hinder your hook sets in the fish.
One other little trick I’ve learned that doesn’t have anything to do with weeds is saltwater on your sunglasses. How many times have you wished you could clean your glasses because of saltwater being splashed on the lenses?
Most of you know it takes a really clean cloth to clean them without smudging them up worse. But what about when your out wading up to your chest? Nowhere is there a clean dry shirttail. Simply dry your tongue best you can and lick your lens with your whole tongue.
Put them back on your face. Spit out the salt and let them dry in the wind. Waa-la clear sight again. It works better than a clean cloth.